Private sector not accepting Govt business – Williams

There is increasing reluctance among the private sector to accept Government business or take on any more of its debt, according a senior business executive.

Managing Director of Light & Power Holdings Limited Peter Williams said rising uncertainty about the true state of the economy had led to significant erosion of confidence.

In addition, he said local business people were worried they could be left with the short end of the stick if they did business with Government.

“You are very much more reluctant now to take on anything that says Government,” Williams said today at the 2017 First Citizens Investment Services market outlook at the Barbados Hilton Resort.

“So we avoid allowing Government to rack up that debt by not providing services. We don’t lend to Government, we don’t take out investment whether instruments in terms of treasury bonds or whatever Government [paper], so our confidence is gone. When it comes to the foreign investment then we are very careful about how we are going to bring in money because you are not certain you are going to be able to get it back, not even necessarily in a lump sum but in terms of dividend payments.”

Williams, a former president of the Barbados Association of Professional Engineers, observed that the recent Estimates did not include critical information about Government arrears to private individuals and businesses, or Government’s borrowing from the National Insurance Scheme.

He also suggested the 10.3 weeks of international reserves cover could be further impacted by the “pipeline” of payments to be made in investments outside Barbados by residents here.

Meantime, local real estate mogul Sir Paul Altman said there was a growing level of uncertainty among overseas investors who are prepared to provide a “tsunami” of investment but are being hindered due to “inefficiencies” in the economy.

Sir Paul said the fact that there was in excess of US$2 billion worth of real estate listed on the West Coast for some time now, it was a reflection of not only the declining value in the pound, but also the level of confidence among investors, as well as the inefficiencies in the Barbados economy.

Stating that confidence “doesn’t exist” at this time, Sir Paul said uncertainties and inefficiencies remained two of the island’s biggest bugbears when it came to its ability to attract investment.

“I use those two words and could underline them or put them in red- lack of efficiency and lack of confidence. Yes, you can say some of that, certainly from a confidence point of view uncertainty is global, but certainly from an efficiency point of view that is very much our market. People coming here to invest, they expect a certain reception in terms of what their expectations are, in terms of how they are going to be greeted, how they are going to be handled,” Sir Paul explained.

The developer cautioned that the island would continue to lose out on investments unless equal attention was paid to tackling the country’s inefficiencies and the fiscal deficit and debt situation.

“It is certainly seen as a place where people want to own homes and second homes. I always feel that if we were to correct that problem of efficiency and confidence in the market there is a possibly a tsunami waiting on the outside, willing, ready and able to come in here to propel this economy to where we need it to be and to where we know that it can be

At the same time Sir Paul admitted that “the reality has set in” that properties were over priced in Barbados for years.

“I think the reality has set in where properties now are selling at [what] they are describing at discounted rates,” he said.

8 Responses to Private sector not accepting Govt business – Williams

  1. Arthur Collymore
    Arthur Collymore March 25, 2017 at 12:50 am

    A natural consequence of the dire economic situation facing the country, apparent to all except those whose responsibility it is to rectify it. What lost of confidence? Actually, DEM haven’t yet acknowledged that a big enough problem exists, therefore, no solutions would be forthcoming.

    Reply
  2. Sheron Inniss March 25, 2017 at 8:02 am

    That is common sense. You fool me once, you fool me twice, need I say more.

    Reply
    • Richard Johnston March 25, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      “Fool me once, it’s your fault, fool me twice it’s my fault.”

      Reply
  3. Ann Thomas March 25, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Really? The Barbados Private Sector is the biggest bunch of self-serving hypocrites in this island. They even make the Government look good, and that’s almost impossible.

    Have you now found out that confidence in this administration is lacking? It has been lacking since 2014, and even before. Have you now discovered that there are inefficiencies? How sad.

    Has it now dawned on you that if Barbadians are broke that eventually you are going to be broke too, especially since the Government is also broke?

    Why are you hiding in the background and not taking business or government paper, instead of doing what was necessary and saying what needs to be said – the government needs to go

    Reply
    • Milli Watt March 27, 2017 at 8:24 am

      ahhhhhhh a voice of reason Ann. Peter Williams was the Managing Director of BL&P a monopoly a guarantee that he and his top level managers were well looked after. Obviously he was not dependent on the government and tax payers of this country for anything then. He was at the helm when EMERA a Canadian MNC bought it after he was able to pilot a rate increase again this government and taxpayers of Barbados facilitating a monopoly but he all of a sudden can speak to a LACK OF CONFIDENCE. Need I add the play the EMERA made for an extension to that same monopoly for another 40 years. This is a company that prior to the takeover never once went outside to invest and he judging the situation as if he facilitated growth by his own innovation SSTTTUUUUPPPSSSEEEEEEE! Although I loathe this current political class there is a special disdain I got for this capitalist class and the entitlement they believe they hold. As for Altman he can continue doing what he does best and that is being a parasite.

      Reply
  4. BaJan boy March 26, 2017 at 3:33 am

    Fundel will tell you that the whites want to get rid of him cause he born in te tenantry although he give all the tax payers money to a few whites for the past 8 years and we all know why. He sure knows when to shout wolf and also when to shoot the messenger.

    Reply
  5. Helicopter(8P) March 27, 2017 at 10:05 am

    I see it where rural villages will form cooperatives for their farmers produce and husbandry and the rest of Barbados will have to find ways and means in their productive sectors. Farmer now do their business out of their pocket with their cell and smartphones!

    Reply
  6. greengiant March 27, 2017 at 3:12 pm

    BaJan Boy, Some government has always given the tax payers money to a few whites, it’s just to different whites, but they’re all related. The laughable bit here is Sir Paul saying that property here is over priced. Well perhaps you should tell us too who over valued the land or property, who sold the majority of it, and who influenced the over pricing of the properties.

    Property developers, real estate magnets, and their valuers. Persons like you Sir Paul, and Sir Charles to name a few are the people who has dominated the upmarket sales. You all have valued the properties out of the reaches of Barbadians for your own benefit. Our governments have been intimately involved with you as a means of boosting international reserves. To whom much is given, much is expected, so the foreign owners wants the local safety, relaxation, sunshine, beaches and other environmental benefits but also wants the luxury of their international brands of food, clothing, and other essentials. These can only be acquired with foreign currency, so the maintenance of this market, the one off payment for the property, and the annual payment of land tax creates a continuous squeeze on our reserves. Economically, the cat among the pigeons and that’s where we are today.

    Reply

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